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Macromedia No More

December 05, 2005

It’s done. Adobe has officially acquired Macromedia, and the company is now called… Adobe.

On the one hand, no more lawsuit silliness over tabbed palettes. I’d imagine it’ll take a few release cycles, but we’ll finally have a consistent interface between some of the most popular design applications.

On the other hand, now we start the deathwatch on all former Macromedia applications that aren’t Flash or Dreamweaver. From the looks of the new bundles, there will be some shifting as contents settle, but the direction seems pretty clear. Only the web bundle includes any non-Flash Macromedia applications. You can still buy others stand-alone, but how long will that last?

What I’m particularly curious about is what will happen with their newly acquired web and server technologies. Adobe’s never had much of a solution for web development beyond the UI portion. Presumably GoLive will die in favour of Dreamweaver, but ColdFusion and Flex don’t have equivalents in Adobe’s stable. The obvious implication of a combined PDF/Flash platform sometime in the future means there must be back-end technology to back it up.

Which brings us back to the web. AJAX is hot, but Javascript can’t do everything. When faced with its limitations, Flash is currently the most practical alternative. From a business standpoint, it’s a no-brainer to develop and promote this emerging/existing platform (in whatever form it may take). So I’d expect to see a lot more effort toward making Flash development easier.

Should be interesting to see how all this impacts Macromedia’s attention to standards-based web development. Adobe’s made some strides in that direction recently with GoLive’s increased emphasis on CSS, but it has always seemed that Macromedia was fundamentally more in tune with the technology and the community.

December 05, 12h

Yeah, those packages are pretty crazy (and pricey to boot). Your comment regarding JS was pretty apropos as we’ve just recently begun exploring the crossover of Flash and JavaScript as well as the implementation of JavaScript in PDF (which, until a few weeks ago, I was unaware even existed).

Dave says:
December 05, 12h

Not to go on a rant here but hopefully all these apps will become more integrated in the next release. At the bare minimum, I’d love to see better PSD import into Flash. Maybe they’ll make the tools in Flash more Illustrator/Photoshop like as well… I”ve always found drawing in Flash to be at the very worst painful… the very least cumbersome compared to how Adobe does it.

December 05, 13h

Personally, I think the smartest thing would be to keep Macromedia as Macromedia, a branch of Adobe Inc. Not as “Adobe - formerly Macromedia”, and simply drop GoLive from Adobe, and FreeHand from Macromedia.

Especially for the Macromedia-fans (i.e not me) out there….


Bardas says:
December 05, 13h

Integrating Flash/SVG and PDF in a single client … they’re building a browser.

Such an understated way of announcing their intent to transform the web, too.

Luke says:
December 05, 13h

I just hope they don’t change the UI of Firewords too much. I’ve tried Photoshop before and never liked the way it worked, for me Fireworks just feels natural.

Andreas says:
December 05, 13h

You really think GoLive will die in favour of Dreamweaver? Although I don’t use any of them, I do keep up with the software once now and then, and to me it seems that GoLive is noticable better than Dreamweaver nowadays.

Dave S. says:
December 05, 13h

“You really think GoLive will die in favour of Dreamweaver?”

One word: mindshare. I have absolutely no stats, but I’d guess that Dreamweaver users outnumber GoLive users by at least an order of magnitude.

December 05, 13h

I wonder what the plans are with regard to SVG. As it seems to be promoted as some competitor to Flash it could be interesting to follow what ensues.

December 05, 13h


what do you need from flash that JS doesn’t do? My guess is SVG will do it.

SVG is nearly there in the browser - its on in Firefox 1.5, I am sure we’ll be seeing it natiive soon everywhere but IE (and I’ll guess MS will want to get it in there sooner rather than later - if they are after PDF, they don”t want to give Flash+PDF any more of a headstart than it already has).


quis says:
December 05, 14h

Consistent interface? Ha. Have you tried using keyboard shortcuts in CS(2) on OS X recently?

December 05, 14h

RE: Dreamweaver in favor of GoLive… If you read through the acquisition faq (or read between the lines rather), you’ll find Dreamweaver mentioned over GoLive. In fact they go on to use it as the brand naming example: Adobe Dreamweaver. They also decided to not use contentious examples in the Creative Solutions products being mentioned in the “such as”: Illustrator, GoLive, etc.

Again, I may be reading a bit too much into all this but it is interesting none the less.

December 05, 14h

I’m just wondering when and where I’m going to get my next upgrade. Dreamweaver 8 finally does standards to a notable degree. With Rachel Andrew heading up the DW taskforce deal, I’ve no doubt it’s great. But what’s next?

Nicolas says:
December 05, 14h

SVG is the one thing that I worry for, with this acquisition.

So far [one of] the most common solution to get SVG in a browser has been Adobe’s SVG plugin. Which has not been updated since 2000, according to

Now Adobe has bought MM, whose biggest product line is Flash. Is the fact that Illustrator can export to SVG a sufficient reason for Adobe to keep supporting it?…

Let’s hope that SVG will soon be fully integrated into FF, else SVG will keep being a minor technology in the web space - a real shame given its potential.

Tim says:
December 05, 14h

What are you thoughts on whether or not Fireworks will be dropped? I would really like it to live-it’s what I personally prefer to use for web design-but I doubt Adobe will find a place for it within it’s lineup with Photoshop+ImageReady already there.

December 05, 15h

Keep Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, & InDesign, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, & Flash (duh).

Axe ImageReady, GoLive, and Freehand in favor of the better apps above.

Dreamweaver continues to tie Flash and Flex together (instead of a special Flex GUI). Or pull Flex into a truely Pro level of Flash (though Flex is totally not cost effective at the moment due to the server requiremets, etc). Maybe some sort of Flash Server component (or something like that).

ColdFusion goes Open Source (this one will probably piss off many cfd peeps) and Adobe sells service and maintenance packs instead (this one needs more thought ;-) he he).

And Adobe PDF is the universal connector between all the apps.

Sounds like a plan to me. OK, don’t kill me now ;-)

Petit says:
December 05, 15h

John said: “what do you need from flash that JS doesn’t do? My guess is SVG will do it.”

You’re right and you’re wrong.

SVG can do almost anything and I’d personally prefer SVG for vector graphics and animation, given a good tool like Flash to work with. It is XML and open standard. Unfortunately the SVG versions of any mildly complicated drawing or animation makes for big files and the browsers are slow rendering big SVG:s.

Then again Flash really can do things that SVG cannot, e.g. play a progressively downloading video directly from the web server.

So for animations and video, I’ll stick to Flash for the time being.

Glen C. says:
December 05, 15h

(I hope that doesn’t breakt he layout) That video, if you haven’t seen it, is actually a really interesting look at measure map and a new flash application maker called Flex Builder.

I agree that flash seems to be the logical step. I also believe in combing the two exactly like meaure map does. It’s the perfect example of seemless integration. For example, when you change the date or something, the textual stats are changed via ajax (I assume). It really makes the user experience better in my opinion. I really like this idea and hope it’s used more in the future.

Nick Toye says:
December 05, 15h

Personally, I think Macromedia going down the swanny is of no consequence. Who actually used all their products? Fireworks is nothing compared to Adobe Photoshop, and image optimising is not as essential as it was now we have broadband.

Most of the cool stuff on the web is not really dependant on dreamweaver.

Also I think the design of the Macromedia website never really promoted the company as cutting edge, I thought it looked tatty and old hat towards the end.

Mind you it looks worse now, but i’m sure Adobe will sort that out.

December 05, 15h

“Fireworks is nothing compared to Adobe Photoshop”
I couldnt agree more, I always found Photoshop gives much sharper, more professional looking end results than Fireworks ever did.
I’m really hoping PSD’s become easier to integrate and use with Flash.

AkaXakA says:
December 05, 16h


Fireworks will be dropped.

At a recent Macromedia gig, confirmation _was_ given.

Sorry guys!

December 05, 17h

“At a recent Macromedia gig, confirmation _was_ given.”

I have seen no such confirmation… we haven’t even had internal briefings yet. Your citation…?

tx, jd/mm

Dylan says:
December 05, 18h

Mmmm, I’m sad to see it go…

I suppose it’s nothing more than a superficial sentimentality for a long standing company and brand, but I’ll miss the “Macromedia” name.

Having worked with both Adobe and Macromedia products (lightly, I might add) it will be odd to have them essentially combined into one sole entity. Oh well. Adobomedia begins!

Jeff says:
December 05, 19h

But what about Homesite?? I don’t see it listed on the Adobe site as a Macromedia product, thought it still is listed on Macromedia’s page…

December 05, 19h

I sincerely doubt that ColdFusion (not to be confused with CFML, which is the language itself and available elsewhere, e.g. will ever go fully open source. Adobe, nee Macromedia, makes too much money off its licensing fees to just give it over to the community. Add to the fact that ColdFusion is heavily tied into Dreamweaver, Flash and Flex…

I read somewhere that CF 7, which rocks by the way, represents the greatest number of ColdFusion licenses ever sold for a release version.

Damer says:
December 05, 21h

I’m crapping myself with the possibility that Fireworks will get canned (hold me!)

I’ve been designing sites with it since it was a wee 1.0 and I totally agree that PSD is the king of the pixel, but that’s not why I use Fireworks! All Fireworks needs to be able to do, bitmap-wise, is reach the same level of capabilities that InDesign has with vectors. What I mean is that the bitmap and vector editing isn’t really the point of Fireworks for me. The point is it is my layout tool. If anyone knows of another web-page layout tool, let me know. AFAIK, there’s a huge hole in the current products out there for a tool, like Fireworks, but with more page-to-page capabilities.

Sorry, I’m ranting. Software shouldn’t get me all worked up like this!

December 05, 22h

I use Fireworks almost exclusively for web design. Fireworks was built from the ground up as a web design tool. It is to web design what Autocad is to architects. It’s vector-based features and nesting symbols make it perfect for designing an entire site’s GUI.

When I first started in web design (I began my career in architecture), I was completely baffled how anyone could design anything in Photoshop. Photoshop is a photo-editing tool. That’s what it is good at.

This was back in the days of Photoshop 5.5… if I wanted to draw a nav bar, I had to make a rectangular selection on an empty layer, and use the bucket tool to fill it with the color of my choice. If I wanted to make that wider later, I would have to do a lot of redrawing.

Whereas in Fireworks, it’s just a matter of dragging across the corners and pulling some anchors. If I had elements that repeat in a lot of places, I could use symbols… and if they need to change, all I need to do is change it in once place.

To me, Photoshop is still a photo-editing tool. Sure, they’ve grafted on a lot of extras to try to appeal to the web designer, but they are poorly integrated, and feel clunky. Also, Fireworks doesn’t take 5 years to load like Photoshop CS.

It would be horribly irresponsible for Adobe to drop Fireworks. And for Photoshop to subsume the features of Fireworks would make i even more bloated and unusable. Leave my Fireworks alone.

Jason says:
December 05, 22h

I’d be sad to see Fireworks go too. I suppose sales will end up dictating it’s future: if “Adobe Fireworks” (that sounds weird) doesn’t sell enough units it’s doomed you would think.

I just don’t like this merger. What’s wrong with healthy competition? Who can really compete against Adobe now?

December 06, 02h

Hmmm, so long as they don’t ruin Dreamweaver then I’m happy. I used to use Fireworks a lot for my site designs, but now use Photoshop and Illustrator, I also used to be a dedicated ColdFusion developer, but have switched to PHP now.

Saying that, I really hope Adobe aren’t stupid enough to scrap the software like Fireworks, its still useful, and far superior to ImageReady (in my opinion). The article you linked to regarding PDFs and Flash was a good read (as well as the comments), will be interesting to see what they do to Flash. It certainly shouldn’t be a case of adding flash to PDF, and then making that the new platform for all Flash like media, they should work PDF into Flash, so that there is no serious change in the way Flash operates, Macromedia already made a start on that with FlashPaper.

D'Juan says:
December 06, 02h

I might be the only one here that wants to see the Illustrator pen tool in Flash, but I hope they make that addition.

I don’t have much to say regarding Fireworks, as i’ve never really used it. Now I have to use it to see what the fuss is all about!

M. Hageman says:
December 06, 05h

Well change is good but I sure hope they won’t focus on making webdesign something everyone will be able to do in the near future, ie: by using one single software program to design, html, make flash, connect to databases and ultimately publish it to a server.

I mean… I’d like -some- professionalism to remain in this business.

Also, Adobe Homesite sounds odd.

Chris says:
December 06, 05h

Fireworks is a indespensible part of my web design toolkit. Were Adobe to kill it, I would continue to use it. It’s important enough to me that, were Apple to release a version of OS X that didn’t run Fireworks after it’s been discontinue, I would keep an old computer around simply to run it.

Anyone else as wedded to it as I am?

Nick Toye says:
December 06, 07h

Nope, I think Fireworks will die, and Photoshop will take its best and make Photoshop even better.

This merge thing isn’t that big a deal, if we need to rely on a piece of software to do our jobs then what does that say about us as web designers/developers?

Because we can’t use Fireworks will that mean that our websites wont be as good?

December 06, 08h

I’m another committed Fireworks user, and although not really a visual designer, I use it heavily for icons and visual elements in web applications. Plus any design stuff I do end up attempting.

I started out on Photoshop, but moved to Fireworks early on (version 3 I think) when I saw the advantages of a mixed vector- and bitmap-based editing environment. There’s just no comparable product in the Adobe line-up.

However, I’m confident Adobe *could* build a superb successor to Fireworks - if (and it’s a big if) they understand the niche. To be honest I’m not convinced Macromedia ever really understood what they had in Fireworks - just look at some of the useless features they added to recent versions.

Fireworks is great because the concept of a combined vector/bitmap environment is perfect for web work, plus it has an efficient workflow for outputting web-optimized files from your originals. The implementation itself wasn’t always on the mark - and Fireworks can be really unstable for some people. It’s also pretty buggy (you learn to work around the bugs).

Adobe apps, in my experience, tend to be far more solid and reliable. If Adobe were to ‘get it’ and build a replacement product for the Fireworks market, we’d really have a winner.

But the likelihood of that is even slimmer than Fireworks surviving at all.

Tom says:
December 06, 08h

I too am wondering about HomeSite. It is my primary authoring tool, fairly customized. I was hoping that something would be done with it, but now I have to wonder.

The last thing I want to do is get sucked into the beast that is DW.


December 06, 09h

I think HomeSite is long dead and gone. It was a victim of the Allaire acquisition, so you can bet that no trace will be found of it at Adobe.

I was also a HomeSite user, and a big fan. Since switching to a Mac, I’ve found TextMate to offer a lot of the advantages that HomeSite had. But let’s not follow that tangent ;)

Will says:
December 06, 09h

Homesite will always be greater than Dreamweaver. Even in it’s neglected state (I doubt they’ve done a thing to it in years) it’s 10x the program the latest and greatest Dreamweaver is.

As for Fireworks, whatever floats your boat I guess. I cracks me up when people say they don’t “get” Photoshop.

As long as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash survive this merger, which they will, then my workflow will remain unchanged.

Josh says:
December 06, 09h

I hope something is done with Homesite (and I don’t mean kill it.) I agree with Will that DW simply can’t stand up to Homesite. HS has been stagnating for years and I’ve tried all sorts of replacements but nothing comes close. It’s partly because I’m too used to the Homesite shortcuts, partly the interface is just too comfortable. I’ve tried TopStyle Pro, but it’s just missing those few things that seem to make it a pain to work with, and it’s missing them so that Macromedia didn’t come after it. If Homesite did get killed, hopefully TopStyle Pro could add the missing functionality for all us old-time HS users.

beto says:
December 06, 10h

Count me in with the “If Adobe just gives Fireworks the boot they’ll feel the great power of my wrath” crowd… I’ve been using it since version 1 and having it simply dissapear in favor of the convuluted Illustrator-PS workaround would rather be a huge step backwards. For me anyways. Hope the heads at Adobe certainly know better and not confirm our worst fears.

At the very least, they should think about incorporating some of FW’s vector handling and export tools into Photoshop, without making it an “Illustrator killer” which FW certainly isn’t - nor it’s ever intended to be.

Homesite is another app that I refuse to let go, even in the almost-abandonware state that is today. DW tries its best, but it’s no equal successor. It’s just too heavy and trying to be all things to all people. Using DW to churn out simple HTML/CSS code is akin to get a Hummer to drive to your grocery store three blocks away. There may be some hope if the makers of Topstyle Pro (another great app I can’t live without) could incorporate more HS-like functionality on its software, which is absolutely great for CSS but when it comes to HTML it feels rather like a half-baked Homesite.

December 06, 14h

As someone once said (can’t remember who), “Using Photoshop for web design is like driving a Hummer to the grocery store.” I totally respect those who use Photoshop for web design (I think Dave himself, included?), because great design comes from the designer, regardless of the tool.

If you are comfortable with PS, by all means, use it! But I guess that’s what irks me about this merger–choice is taken away if certain competing programs die.

That quote sums up my personal opinion–Photoshop is a powerhouse tool for everything under the sun, but Fireworks is lean and built specifically for web design. It’s not without it’s faults, but it’s my software of choice for web design.

Jeff says:
December 06, 15h

Just my 2¢, I really enjoy laying out stuff in Fireworks and the quickness it offers compared to Photoshop, but I still use Photoshop for pretty much everything that needs precision.

I just hope they unify the interface within Dreamweaver and finally get a live rendering engine that can simulate browsers realistically. Then maybe if they’ve got some spare guys clean up some of the automatically generated code…hah.

But here’s to hoping things improve.

Lalo says:
December 07, 02h

No, I’m not so convinced that FW will die. Even before the merger, ImageReady had its strong opposition because this jumping between PS and IR really irritates and is felt as cumbersome by many. Besides, ImageReady, though it can handle images very well and is quite elegant with slices, feels weird when working with code. Adobe knows that ImageReady is not such a great app. My guess is, they’ll take the Pagemaker/InDesign route and make something better, that merges both of them or create something entirely new. Adobe doesn’t shun hard work. And it is known for quality. They must absolutely know that FW has it’s strenghs and that Macromedia’s vision on the web, and therefore FW, cannot simply be discarded.

designdog says:
December 07, 07h

I agree that FW will not die. ImageReady will – it almost is dead already. Why give up an SKU if you don’t have to? Simply strip the web features from Photoshop, and market an improved Fireworks that is dedicated to web design.

The “new ” Adobe then has apps focused on: pixels, vectors, slices, html, and swf. As they evolve, their focus will become stronger, their interface more consistent, and their import/export more compatible.


designdog says:
December 07, 07h

Sorry, InDesign, forgot you:

…the “new” Adobe then has apps focused on: pixels, vectors, slices, html, swf, and print.


December 07, 07h

I feel like Adobe just bought their biggest competitor. And the loser made the buyout. Why did Macromedia have to sell?

UrbanOR says:
December 07, 10h

With the prominance of css and standards based design right now, I don’t see a need to keep incorporating legacy features like “slices” into Adobe’s new apps.

Anyone feel the same way?

D Doctor says:
December 07, 15h

“Fireworks is nothing compared to Photoshop”

In terms of power, yes.
In terms of usability, a BIG NO.

Adobe has very powerful software… but their usability is consistently below-par - especially on PC. My only hope is that Macradobia can get the best of both worlds. But they won’t - I can see them just killing a whole swathe of well written Macromedia stuff in favour of their monolithic “oh you can’t use this because you’re not an expert” software. With the lack of competition pushing usability levels higher, the user loses out.

Cold Fusion is a damn fine web scripting language and it would be a real shame to see it go. It’s biggest advantage is its syntax - all of the code is in tags, so mixing script and HTML is clean. Compare equivalent code in VBscript, PHP or Perl, and CF will come out the more readable.

I actually (jokingly) suggested that my company goes for Flash over HTML for UI. The important point here is “jokingly”. As my colleague put it - “one word: Acessibility”. You can’t make accessible websites as easily in graphics-driven Flash than you can in text-driven HTML. And, for many companies, accessibility isn’t just a nice feature - it’s a must. Think of wheelchair ramps in shopping centres - accessibility of products/services is often enforced by law.

And, did someone forget that all Flash pages have static, absolute sizes? That’s a major pitfall for device-independence, which is quite important on a system such as the www.

We all know that HTML has its limitations in building powerful UI’s, and you can’t rely on Javascript. Flash steps up to the plate… and it looks the part… but it just doesn’t cut it for professional, systems-oriented sites.

If Adobe puts all their bets on Flash over HTML, they’re crazy.

I hope they do some updates to Dreamweaver, too. It’s the bomb, but there’s still room for improvement. Eg, Visual Studio beats it in CSS editing. And many even think Frontpage or Word make table-editing easier.

Lalo says:
December 07, 15h

Well, slices are important, they don’t have to do with css or something, it’s a way of treating images. One forgets too easily that not everybody has broadband on this planet! (seriously)

What surprises me a lot these days is that almost everybody seems to accept the fact that money can and will buy everything, and that money is, in itself, a reason. I hardly hear somebody say that loyality to a product or simply being attached to a company is a virtue and that has to be respected. Obviously, Adobe has gone to great lenghts to “explain” this aqquisition, regarding people’s feelings, but what strikes me most is simply the fact that there are going to be thousands of persons whose working procedures will be changed (ie, people that work with Freehand and Fireworks to say the least)for no reason but money. I mean, it’s true. Can you be for a product line, a way of doing things one day and then, the other day, simply turn around and smile because it is no more and you have no choice but to use “the other product”? Is that sane? Does one have to sit there and look at the positive side of it all just because one is helpless to change things? It strikes me to read so many workers at Macromedia “happy” about it all. No-one condemning this all, being royally pissed or something. Everybody is so luke warm it almost daunts me.

December 07, 16h

John Dowdell: Seems there is a glimmer of hope then.

At a Macromedia Event in Manchester (30th of Nov), the guy from Macromedia was pretty negative about the future of Fireworks - I figured he wasn’t allowed to say much.

Seeing the reaction on journals I think a lot of people would like it if you fought to keep Fireworks alive.

D Doctor says:
December 07, 19h

What I’d like to see would be a Fireworks-Photoshop hybrid:
Use Photoshop’s:
- filters
- polygon lasso
- magic wand
- colour picker
- wealth of hardcore stuff
- fills/gradients

Use Fireworks’:
- gif animation
- navigation
- toolbars
- property pane
- image exporting
- slick usability
- handling of separate objects within layers
- vector objects
- “hotspots” for image mapping

While we’re on vectors… why not integrate Illustrator with it, too. Fireworks proves that you can have a decent hybrid vector/raster editor, and Photoshop and Illustrator prove that both types can be done really well.

Then, for the GIF animation… throw in Flash’s timeline features.

I think a lot of Macromedia staff would be cringing about being sold to their former enemy. It would be like Microsoft buying Sun. :)

Josh H. says:
December 07, 23h

I’d like to see the following…

Coldfusion (preferably opensource, please please! :)


Many people seem to compare Fireworks with Photoshop, why? I think Fireworks is more a competitor with ImageReady. So, keep Photoshop and Fireworks and let them compliment each other and get rid of the beast that is ImageReady.

I’d also like to see Coldfusion go to opensource. The only reason I haven’t been using it is the cost. Convincing a company to invest in it is no easy task but I’ll tell you, if I could use it all the time I certainly would.

Lalo says:
December 08, 01h

I think they’ll keep Fireworks in one way or another. Too many people are asking for it. Almost anybody that cares to express his mind says that Fireworks is his tool of choice!

Dan says:
December 08, 04h

Maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen a single mention of Macromedia’s Director. It’s been pretty obvious that their development team has been cut back in recent releases, with a TON of Director users making the jump to Flash.

Anybody else interested in seeing Director stay?

Have I spent the last three years learning Lingo for nothing?!

December 08, 06h

Who cares? A copy of Photoshop 6, notepad, an FTP program, PHP or Tomcat or ROR, MySQL, Linux server, apache - that’s all you need to make a good web site. Stop buying their expensive bloatware. Flash is mainly misused and Adobe Reader just crashed my Firefox. Just one man’s opinion.

John says:
December 08, 06h

I’m really going to miss Fireworks - as Adobe will probably either ditch or destroy it. I’ve never been keen on Adobe products - I just prefer the way the Macromedia ones worked.

I can’t remember the last time I used Dreamweaver as anything but a pretty text editor (and I use it all day everyday - but maybe as my favorite programs change in ways I don’t like I’ll end up making the jump to Linux that I know I want to but just haven’t got round to.

December 08, 09h

knock knock, hello!

svg/flash/pdf/xhtml will be legacy in a few years, the XAML steamroller is coming!

exciting times

December 08, 09h

Off topic, but on subject – they botched that Macromedia website something fierce. I’ve never cared for Adobe website once they switched away from that nice old circular design – but that is an eyesore, and a horrible foresight of things to come.

I’ve always loved Adobe, I switched from Quark because of their attention to users… but lately, with the bugs in CS1 unfixed (double click an illustrator window in CS1 doesn’t drop it to the dock as it should, just one of a few), then jumped right to CS2… I’ve been losing faith. Here’s hoping they listen to high end users.

C.R. Chambers says:
December 08, 10h

This acquisition was certainly disappointing to me as a loyal Macromedia customer and user, but I have come to accept that money talks and unfortunately Macromedia had less of it so they got taken over. However, I sincerely hope that Adobe will take some cues from Macromedia and start focusing on two important issues where their products are lacking:

1. Usability. The UI of the entire Macromedia studio was consistent and the tools I used (mainly FW, DW and CF) worked well together. Seamlessly, even. Adobe’s UI is a complete and total nightmare (Anyone ever tried to do anything of consequence in Acrobat?) and is inconsistent, even between products that are designed to work together (Photoshop and Image Ready, for example).

2. Attention to the needs of Web people specifically. Macromedia’s products were geared primarily to Web people, not print people. This is why I love Fireworks. The ability to work with both vector and bitmapped images is a no-brainer for a Web person. Yes, Photoshop is better for photo editing, but for icons, graphical elements and other things that would come out as .gifs Fireworks was hands-down a winner.

Also, as an aside: I don’t understand why people keep referring to DW as solely a WYSIWYG editor. Yes, the WYSIWYG functionality is there, but you don’t have to use it at all. I have mine set up in the “coders view” (aka the “homesite layout”) and you never have to see the WYSIWYG.

That way you can use it just like Notepad, but you get code coloring, tag/CSS completion, global find and replace, pretty-print, etc. that lesser text editors don’t have. I feel like people call DW a WYSIWYG editor as a way of reducing its value as a professional tool and to put it in the same category as Front Page, which it is definitely not.

December 08, 13h

“That way you can use it just like Notepad, but you get code coloring, tag/CSS completion, global find and replace, pretty-print, etc. that lesser text editors don’t have. “

That’s why I have BBEdit, same thing, without the bloat - and more advanced.

December 08, 15h

“That’s why I have BBEdit, same thing, without the bloat - and more advanced.”

Indeed, the bloat makes DreamWeaver rather unusable. I prefer Programmers Notepad 2 though. Tabs!

Lalo says:
December 08, 16h

Yes, doing anything in Acrobat is counterintuitive. Take this example: in every Adobe program you doble click on the zoom tool and voilá, you’re at 100%. Do the same in Acrobat and you stay there staring. Why for God’s sake it has to work differently is beyond me.

The changes they made in Acrobat were not for the better. It was better before. At least there were not so many icons floating around and things you feel you oughtta know but you don’t.

Buuuuut….Flash’s tool palette is infamous. That’s one of the single things that I find half way good in this: maybe they’ll improve it.

me says:
December 09, 00h

As long as dreamweaver stays, it is ok for me… (the code-completion, tree-view on my projectfolder, there is no worthy competitor on mac)

Suni says:
December 09, 04h

I moved from Photoshop to Fireworks almost four years ago and have never looked back. Working with the vector/bitmap objects, symbols and their effects is just so much easier and faster than with the tools Photoshop offers. Perfect for web layouts and UI graphics.

Professional Photo editing and Print stuff is the realm for Photoshop. Killing the best web graphics design software would be just plain stupid.

I’d most likely still keep using Fireworks anyway.

December 09, 05h

Well, hope that DW and FireWorks would stay.

I still remember back in the day, a couple of years ago, Adobe was suing Macromedia for some UI-issues…

But other than that if they come out with a “hybrid-interface” sort of thing, we would have to get used to new stuff again… But that’s just IF… :(

Besides ImageReady should be dropped, because ImageReady gets burned by FireWorks.

Nick Toye says:
December 09, 08h

People there is no comparison with Photoshop and Fireworks. I haven’t used it for about two years, I haven’t needed to use it. If it wasn’t for .net magazine throwing up useless tutorials for it, there would probably be less users then there are now.

Why do we need to have all these programs. You could easily integrate Fireworks into Photoshop, or Dreamweaver for that matter. From what I understood from tutors was that Fireworks was for web graphics, and vector tools. Something that Photoshop can do now and will only improve on now that Adobe have acquired Fireworks.

There really is nothing to worry about.

Thomas Higginbotham says:
December 09, 09h

“Fireworks is nothing compared to Adobe Photoshop, and image optimising is not as essential as it was now we have broadband.”

First of all, why are we comparing Fireworks to Photoshop? Photoshop is for image and print editing, and although it does a great job, I’m a Web designer first; not a photographer.

Fireworks “real” competition is ImageReady as stated in another post. And if you want to compare those two, I think the majority agree that Fireworks is the better app – especially for planning Web layouts.

As for image optimizing not being essential, perhaps you didn’t realize that recent statistics state that over 40% of active Web users are still on dial-up. Even if we did all have broadband, no one wants to wait for an image to load (even if it is only a second or two).

Nick Toye says:
December 09, 10h

First of all I never said that image optimising wasn’t essential, I said it wasn’t as essential as it was.

Secondly, “Photoshop is for image and print editing”, what are you saying here? web sites don’t have images? Can you not use Photoshop to develop icons, clean up images, optimise graphics? I’m fairly sure that Photoshop has been able to do this for a while now.

Also can you possibly divulge your statistics so I can verify them. I am not saying that you are wrong, but if you want to add facts into the equation you need to be able to back it up.

I’m really not trying to start an argument here, but I don’t need Fireworks and do just as well using Photoshop.

Laura G. says:
December 09, 10h

I use both and still feel Fireworks is better for web, because it was basically made for that.
Photoshop is more powerful, yes, but is like using a porsche convertible for a rally (you get the picture) ;)
I work with 2 other web designers that use exclusively Photoshop (people that have been using the software for years) and things that are very intuitive and easy to do in Fireworks are a pain in Photoshop.
And then, what about Print people that use Photoshop? They don’t need all the “web features” that we might like it to have.

I don’t think they can be merged in one product, unless they create a “Photoshop Web” version (formerly Fireworks).
They could improve the export psd from Fireworks and the save PNG from Photoshop and that would be good enough for me.


Nick Toye says:
December 09, 10h

…Or do what Dreamweaver do and give you the option at the start, for designers or coders. For print or web, it will be interesting to see how it will pan out.

December 09, 11h

True, PhotoShop doesn’t have the web features FW has and FW doesn’t have the photo editing and print abilities PhotoShop has…

But all in all FW beats ImageReady by far, especially optimization for web(!), vector objects and etc…

I would totally go with the PhotoShop and FireWorks team-up, but if they should be combined in one program? Mmmm prolly that’s a different issue…

Lalo says:
December 09, 14h

A little bit of the future right here (just opened):

Thomas Higginbotham says:
December 09, 14h


After rereading my original post, I see that I may have come off a little harsh. It just seemed that a lot of the Photoshop fanboys were downplaying Fireworks. It’s really only a manner of opinion.

However, I do believe I had a valid argument. Comparing PS and FW is like comparing Microsoft Word to Dreamweaver. Sure, you can use Word to create Web sites, but I prefer to use an editor that was designed from the ground up with the Web in mind. When I need to apply an effect or touch up an image, I’ll use Photoshop, but when I’m planning a Web site layout, I find Fireworks is much easier. As for developing icons, I still prefer FW because it is more vector-oriented than PS.

As for verifying my statistics, I’ll admit, it was a couple months ago when I read the article. A quick Google search turned this up though –

According to Nielson//NetRatings, US broadband usage among active Internet users is at 63.8% which means that over 36% of “active” users are still on dial-up in the United States.

Again, no hard feelings.

Nick Toye says:
December 09, 15h


No problem,

Point about icons, i design my icons from 1600% and pixel based, i can do the same with Photoshop, however I did notice that when you show a grid in Fireworks it is more regular then PS but everything has its problems, but i’m sure they will be merged eventually.

Fireworks will still exist, but it will be under Photoshop, not a bad thing.

Lorens says:
December 09, 16h

Adobe made very good investments. I use a lot of adobe products and hope that now they will be much more integrated with macromedia products. The main the preformacne of programms, not their brand names

December 09, 18h

You know, what it all comes down to for Adobe is money. Let’s not forget that they are in business to make a profit. To me it seemed somewhat distasteful how aggressive and immediate Adobe paraded their conquest, and branded Macromedia like a broke in cow. To make the money lust even more obvious, they rushed out with immediate and price incentive-less bundles. I would have felt more at ease if it was an actual merger as opposed to an aquisition. That would have at lease indicated a strong blend of the two. But it wasn’t. It is Adobe’s ship to sail. Don’t get me wrong, I use products from both ends. But Macromedia always seemed more customer and community focused, and always threw out some pretty good deals. Adobe, in my experience - has been considerably the opposite. Have you been to the Adobe exchange?(if you manage not to time out). It crawls slower then photoshop opening up. And they seem to get greedier and greedier with new and improved features by the upgrade. I think it’s a toss-up to know what will come up next. Hopefully Adobe will learn some customer techniques from the Macromedia crew.

Lalo says:
December 09, 22h


You hit the nail in the head.

It’s like if Microsoft bought Apple. Wouldn’t you be shocked? Certainly, many people would find a lot of advantages, but in the end, it’s better for everybody that Apple is alive.

People may argue they you will. It would have been better to have Macromedia still with us.

Weiran says:
December 11, 05h

The comparison of Dreamweaver-GoLive isn’t entirely the same as Photoshop-Fireworks. While the formers might have the much bigger market share than the latter, Dreamweaver is an obviously better product than GoLive, while I think Fireworks is as good as Photoshop, especially for web work.

But really, how can a company have two competing products in its lineup? And ultimatly, Adobe is not going to kill Photoshop.

December 11, 12h

Hopefully fireworks usability will be made available in future versions of Photoshop, I’m going to miss that thing.

Lalo says:
December 11, 15h

Firewoks does not compete against Photoshop. Not for Adobe. That you use Photoshop for web work is something else. Firework runs against ImageReady.

Xenon says:
December 11, 16h

I hope that that the good points in GoLive from Adobe and Dreamweaver of *the firm formerly known as Macromedia* will produce a better G.L.D.W.

Viktor says:
December 12, 17h

Adobe is really big now. Hopefully this will lead to better export/cummunication between all the different programs.

Manu says:
December 12, 21h

I’m hoping for more integration between the products. And I very much doubt Dreamweaver is going away. I’m seeing this positively.

Sam says:
December 13, 06h

The word is ‘adaptability’. Don’t tie yourself down to one product. It may feel comfy and warm to know your app like the back of your hand, but it stifles creativity in the long run.
Growth comes from exploring new avenues.

Sarah says:
December 14, 08h

Fireworks is a great product, and its sad to see development of such products stopped when takeovers occur.

Although I am not too disheartened, as its been said many times… its a great product. Does it really need any further development?

I’m certainly happy to keep on using as it stands.

December 14, 20h

My editor name’s gonna be Adobe Dreamweaver now :)
Maybe it’s going to be better since I use Photoshop for image editing and not Fireworks.

Kerwyn says:
December 15, 06h

After using both Dreamweaver and GoLive I can see which of the two applications throughly addresses the needs of web designers/developers, that being Dreamweaver. I’ll be looking for forward to see how Adobe plans to take Dreamweaver in the future.

Sugar says:
December 15, 09h

I really don’t know how to feel about this union.

The one thing I really hope for is lack of major changes on two of my favourite programs : Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

Petr says:
December 15, 18h

In the best case there will be applications, that takes all the best from each other.. like DW and GoLive.

Jarrod says:
December 15, 23h

I think it would be great if they combined Fireworks with ImageReady. Really, that would be awesome. And keep the integration ImageReady has with Photoshop.. sometimes I go back and forth between the two to layout elements in fireworks and the simple stuff, and complex banners and graphics in photoshop. Combining the two (ImageReady and Fireworks) would make it a perfect complement to Photoshop…

There is Illustrator… but I think for web design, Illustrator a little more powerful than you need. Fireworks is a covers the middle ground, between Illustrator and Photoshop.

Regardless, I’m excited to see what happens with Adobe now that they own Macromedia. I really don’t think they’ll keep the name Dreamweaver, or Fireworks (if they keep it at all).

Rakesh says:
December 16, 04h

I love Macromedia…I swear when i thought Macroemdia is not there my eyes filled with water.I feel it is my best friend. I have lot of coordination with Macroemdia directly. So i cant believe this.

But i need Adobe keep the same spirit like macroemdia on Flash plotform……

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Certified Developer

Susan says:
December 18, 04h

Maybe it’s offtopic, but i just wanted to say, that it’s really interesting to read everything this with comments… You, professionals, can discuss here a lot of interesting things on different news. Thanks =)

December 18, 06h

I too would love to see better integration.
I really believe Photoshop needs an overhaul. if you were to combine it with the also powerfull fireworks you would get a way more efficient program. and now that they have acquired one of the top web editors they should concentrate on theier export to HTML feature which i think needs some well deserved attention :)

John says:
December 18, 06h

I’d say, “Hang on to your “MM Studio MX” There’s no question that Photoshop needs overhauling, but I believe they will continue their “New Car Syndrome” by releasing version after version of CS 3,4,5,with only minor changes in each.
I expect Flash will become more like Swishmax which will make it easier for designers to make sites which aren’t recognized by robots and spiders so their sites will never get into the big three or four search engines. The only thing Swishmax won’t do that Flash will, is morph shapes - no big deal.
Personally, I hate to see Macromedia go alshough I only use the code portion of DW so there’s a lot of wasted design stuff in there - but it’s kinda like losing an old friend. But getting sentimental about a coding source is un-geek, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m not a geek.

December 18, 11h

Freehand + Illustrator = Frustrator
Go Live + Dreamweaver = Go Dream

Donny says:
December 19, 16h

Use your tools properly. Don’t hammer with the screwdriver. Making an all-in-one wonder-tool is very fustrating just to do basic tasks. Web tools have had this problem as they’ve grown from version to version.
Wasn’t Photoshop was once just for photo work? It’s like a book store adding a coffee shop then maybe an automotive repair shop, a hair salon and so on. Focus is completely gone.
There is some software packages that I still seem to find new hidden features still after years of use.

Recently I found out that Actionscript 2.0 is being completely overhauled to 3.0. Oh well! keep up with the Jones’s

There will be disappointed users to see things change, but it’s been going on for years in this industry.
Personally I find it very exciting everytime something changes like this.

Will my Macromedia T-shirt be a collectors item?

gustaf says:
December 22, 01h

Vive le Fireworks!

As Geoff aptly put it way back at comment 26, FireFox was built for the sole purpose of being a web graphics app. It caters to the soul of the true web designer.

It doesn’t have the famously raw pixel-crunching power of PS, but then, its not supposed to (and, as a consequence, its much faster).

But I think that Adobe is smart enough to know that if they kill Fireworks, they’ll feel the fiery wrath of quite a few web artists. The question is, are they willing to endure that wrath, if it means selling a few more copies of PS ?

jmkogut says:
January 01, 15h

I will miss Macromedia, the good thing is that they’ll keep my two favorite apps, Dreamweaver and Flash. The code-highlighting on DW is sublime.

January 08, 12h

I’m horrified that anyone would consider axing Fireworks in favour of Photoshop as an interface design tool. Photoshop is the market-leader in photographic work, but it doesn’t come close to fireworks when it comes to developing screen layouts. *Fireworks is a design tool first and foremost*, Photoshop simply isn’t. FW offered properly kerned non-antialiased (‘web realistic’) text years before Adobe finally sorted out their text tool in Photoshop. I’ve used Fireworks for six or seven years now (I lose track) and the thought of it vanishing from the marketplace is terrifying.

As is the thought of Freehand disappearing. I’ve always preferred it to Illustrator, it’s more intuitive, easier to use and contains some really useful features that Illustrator doesn’t offer (I would have to branch out to InDesign to do multiple page text flows for example). Freehand is a much underestimated, much misunderstood powerhouse of a package and I’ll keep using it for as long as I can… if it’s good enough for The Designers Republic, it’s good enough for me!


Man, I can’t believe macromedia sold out… :(

vann says:
January 13, 17h

Did anyone go to the link that Lalo posted on Dec 9th? Not one comment on the cost of this buy out, to us, the end user. $900 for an upgrade?? $1890 for the full version????
I’m a user of (mostly) DreamweaverMX and Corel PhotoPaint, not a professional, although I’ve been making sites for several years, most of them for free. Currently I create a free ezine. Most of you appear to be professionals who’s companies pay for your software, but prices like these will force thousands more people to stay with or go back to Microsoft software. :-(
I spend a few thousand dollars a year on hardware and software as it is. This will no doubt be a breaking point for me.
Someone mentioned they hoped the software wouldn’t be so “easy” that anyone could use it, and they wanted some professionalism to be awarde to their profession. Well, sometimes dreams do come true. I work long and hard to learn what I need to know to create good web sites and keep up with the constantly changing criteria for this, but I am no compitition to you, the professional. There is no
comparison between my work and yours. Just as there is no comparison between what I charge and what you charge.
Ok, that’s my 2 cents. Probably out of place here but the news of the buy out and the comments here really pushed my buttons.
Greed is truly the enemy of humanity.

Lalo says:
January 19, 00h

The cold, hard thruth is this: Macromedia’s CEO simply sold out to Adobe voluntarily. He said yes, nobody forced him.

Read all about it at The Economist.

I’m really, really pissed.

mm says:
January 29, 09h

I started out using Adobe Photoshop 5.5 & Image Ready, 7 years ago and I have to say, I was a devout PSD-er up until 2003. All of my design work was prepped in PS and Exported to IR - sliced, and then put together in Dreamweaver 4 (then).

I then attempted to get to grips with Illustrator 9 in 2003, and after many painful attempts to understand Illustrator, I gave up.

It was then I started using Fireworks, primarily for the Drop Down Fly-Out Java menus, but little by little I started to come to terms with its ability - not as a photo image editor, but as a true web graphics app.

The more I used it, the further a grew away from Image Ready, & by 2004 - it was Image Ready Who? I used Fireworks Exclusively to transform my PS masterpeices into Rich Web Ready Media.

Through Fireworks, I also discovered how similar in some ways Illustrator was, and through FW - I was able to comprehend the behaviour and tool that is Illustrator and I am married to Illustrator now too (program polygamy).

Point of this story is? Fireworks for me (now using MX 2004) has been the medium between PS and Illustrator. If they merged both programs (PS and Illustrator) so you have the power for photo-realistic design combined with the Vector beauty that is Illustrator - effectively, Adobe will have created the Ultimate Fireworks/Photoshop/Illustrator Program!!

….so I am running out to by a graphics card that is the length of a Olympic diving board in readiness for the comming of…(grin)

Carlos says:
February 02, 10h

I think that the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe it isn’t necessarily bad, tough I always thought that Macromedia was a bigger and better company than Adobe was, and that the more logical scenario would be Macromedia to buy Adobe.

The reality is different and this giant is commanded by Adobe, so its adobe that will choose the programs that will die and those who will live.

For me the better solution would be Adobe maintain the Macromedia label specialized in the web related programs, like a Macromedia Pack (like Studio 8) instead of change the name to Adobe.

One of the positives aspects of this merging Adobe+Macromedia is to diminish the number of the better existing programs in the market and consequently the time necessary to learn them, and the other is to merge the better functionalities of each ones in powerful single applications. I hope that Adobe will have the intelligence and ability to do that.

The end of Fireworks is inevitably in benefit of the standard Photoshop, and probably the same will happen to Freehand in benefit of Illustrator. I hope that in this process they will get the better of these programs and not just choose Adobe programs without any consideration by Macromedia programs.
In the same logical Go Live will end in benefit of the standard Dreamweaver plus Flash.

But there is one program that I hadn’t seen anyone talk about, that is Macromedia Director. It’s also a standard and very powerful with even its own programming language, Lingo.
What will happen to this program?


February 07, 11h

Sorry for the long post …

Back in ‘99, ‘00, etc I used Fireworks and Dreamweaver almost exclusivly to concept, layout, design, and produce web sites (small, non-corporate ones). I loved Fireworks’ ability to develop drop-down menus, nav bars, image rollover swaps, etc. I didn’t like the bulky and unmanagable code it wrote, but at that point, I didn’t care because it was just as easy to recompile it via Fireworks.

Now with web standards being a huge part of web design, I write all of my XHTML & CSS code in BBEdit (or EditPlus). I develop my graphics in Illustartor and Photoshop and “save for web”. So, if Fireworks went away, I wouldn’t be all that crushed just so long as they got ride of ImageReady as well. I think it would be nice if Fireworks CS3 (or whatever they’ll call it) would take the vector/rastor art it created and converted it into valid XHTML & CSS. How cool would that be? Granted if Fireworks did generate web standards code, it would probably write a 1000 more lines of code than would be necesary.

As far as Flash 8 vs Director, it seems to me that Flash is getting more and more robust and can now do things with CD-ROM’s that only Director could do. It might make sense for Adobe to make a developer version of Flash and a designer version of Flash with Director capabilities. Then again, maybe not ;-)

With Flex 2 making it’s way out of beta, it seems that it would be easier to develop RIA’s than using Flash and ActionScript (though it would mean I would have to learn a new code language that is a mix between XML and ColdFusion).

Flex’s MXML looks interesting, but the developers I work with swear by PHP. In order to use Flex with PHP you have to use an HTTP web service (not ideal). I think that if Cold Fusion was given to the open source community it would become more attractive to develop in it and therefore become more widely used not to mention make Adobe hero’s in the open source community (maybe not quite heros). The licsense cost IS the major thing holding ColdFusion back (that and some twitchy server set up and maintenance) but I think this could only help Adobe.

While this is starting to get over my head, I think Adobe will make the right decisions. I have to have faith in what they decide to do with all of the different pieces of software. After all, Adobe and MM were direct comeptitors, it is now in Adobe’s best interest to NOT piss of their current customers and their new MM customers as well.

Just my 2 cents.